AUTO CLUB IN THE COMMUNITY
We're always with you®
We're always with you®
Serving the needs of motorists since 1900
It’s not often that a company can remain vital for more than a century, but the Auto Club has survived and thrived because we’ve never lost sight of our mission to help our members — and by extension, our larger community — meet their ever-changing needs.
ADVOCACY - SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU KNOW
“I was delighted to read AAA sponsored this new law. That is exactly why I am glad to be a AAA member: because your organization can help me take care of these kinds of matters, so I can concentrate more on my family and other responsibilites in life. Thank you for helping me on so many levels.”
a member expressing gratitude for Auto Club motorist advocacy efforts
Should drivers have control and choice when it comes to the information from their cars?
Your car “knows” a lot. Today’s computer technology allows vehicles to monitor their condition and identify problems, sometimes before they occur. Your car also tracks your driving habits and learns about you through the smart phone you sync with your vehicle.
Ensuring taxes and fees paid by motorists are fair, reasonable, and used to effectively improve roads, transit and safety, as well as opposing unfair tax and fee increases like raising the Vehicle License Fee above one percent.
Advocating for fair treatment and choice for automotive consumers when they buy, maintain, and operate their vehicles, such as sponsoring California's "key code" law allowing motorists to obtain high-tech car key replacements when and where needed.
Supporting legislation and public policies that effectively improve traffic safety for all road users, such as establishing effective speed zoning for safer roads.
Sponsoring or supporting legislation to reduce drunk driving through use of ignition interlocks, DUI checkpoints, and other impaired driving deterrents.
Sponsoring laws targeted at improving safety for:
- teen drivers, such as the state’s Graduated Driver Licensing law
- child passengers, such as the revised booster seat law
- all drivers, such as California’s ban on texting while driving
TRAFFIC SAFETY PROGRAMS FOR ALL AGES
TRAFFIC SAFETY ISSUES
Pedestrian Safety Tips
Keeping all of those on the road, such as motorists, pedestrians, and bike users, safe is a shared responsibility. AAA offers these questions to practice safer habits while on the road:
Do I always pay attention? As a pedestrian, stay aware of vehicles around you; be sure to put away your cell phone or other electronic device when crossing the street. As a driver, do not allow distractions to take your attention away from your primary responsibility of watching the road.
Do I assume too much? A crosswalk does not automatically protect you as a pedestrian; look carefully in all directions and make eye contact with approaching drivers before crossing the street. When you’re driving, do not assume that a traffic signal will prevent pedestrians from crossing into your path.
Am I visible? As a pedestrian, be careful to cross the street only where you are visible to drivers, and to wear retro-reflective clothing or use a flashlight when it’s dark. As a driver, use your headlights in bad weather, early mornings, and evenings, and slow down when approaching pedestrians.
Do I look for signs of danger? As a pedestrian, be aware of busy and potentially dangerous intersections, and avoid those intersections if possible. As a driver, watch for children along the sidewalk and playgrounds, and slow down when children are present.
Do I know and obey traffic laws? As a pedestrian, only cross streets at intersections, and in marked crosswalks when possible. Also, make sure that your don’t cross mid-block between parked cars. As a driver, be aware that you must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections.
Driving Under the Influence
About 1,500 deaths and 30,000 injuries occur each year in California DUI-related crashes. Auto Club research has shown demographic changes in DUI offenders’ profiles; while men continue to be much more likely to drive under the influence than women, DUI offenses among young women are growing.
AAA efforts to combat driving under the influence include:
Requiring and enforcing use of ignition interlock devices as an effective deterrent for DUI offenders to prevent repeat offenses. The device, installed on offenders’ vehicles as a condition of having their driver license reinstated, requires drivers to breathe into it and won’t allow the car to start if alcohol is detected.
Publicizing laws and penalties against drunk driving, including a yearly Auto Club tabulation of the total real cost of a first-time DUI offense. In 2012, the cost was more than $15,000.
Co-founding and leading the Orange County DUI Coalition. Members include the County of Orange, DMV, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and representatives from law enforcement, the judiciary, the legislature, universities and health educators. The coalition targets public education, responsible beverage service training and providing resources for sobriety checkpoints.
The Auto Club’s Tipsy Tow program, which provides a free car tow and ride home to drivers who have consumed too much alcohol during the high-risk holidays of New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July.
Supporting anti-DUI efforts, such as the AAA DUI Justice Link, an online resource listing sober-ride providers and helpful information for government agencies fight to reduce DUI.
Creating free DUI educational materials available for schools, law enforcement and community organizations.
Distractions can occur both inside and outside of the car. A visual or mental focus on anything other than the road is a driving distraction that can have disastrous consequences. About 3,000 people die and 400,000 are injured in the U.S. each year in crashes involving “driver inattention” or distracted driving (NHTSA).
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual driver survey, more than 80% of motorists believe that looking at email or texting while driving is a serious safety hazard, yet 34% in the same survey admitted to reading a text or email while driving in the past 30 days. AAA Foundation research reveals that any activity taking driver attention off the road for more than 2 seconds will nearly double the risk of a crash occurring. Drivers who send or receive text messages, on average, take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds.
Auto Club efforts to combat distracted driving include:
Supporting laws that provide an effective and enforceable deterrent to distracted driving behaviors such as texting or use of hand-held electronic devices while driving.
Conducting driver observational research to gauge results of laws intended to curb distractions, such as cell phone and texting bans. The research is designed to assist law enforcement in deterring unsafe distracted driving behavior, and to determine which laws are effective.
Driver safety events, the Auto Club Driving School, and Auto Club educational materials and campaigns that emphasize the danger of distracted driving. The Auto Club also offers online traffic school for ticketed motorists and the I Drive Safely education course, which discusses California laws and the dangers of distracted driving.
ENVIRONMENT AND AUTOMOTIVE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Founded in 1965 to study the connection between cars and smog pollution, the Automotive Research Center (ARC) has assisted in establishing effective practices to reduce vehicle emissions, providing consumers with more accurate fuel economy (MPG) information and informing consumers about their options when considering alternative-fuel vehicles. Over the decades, ARC has contributed to many environmental programs and research initiatives such as:
New Auto Club facilities, such as the Auto Club's San Diego LEED-certified branch are built and operated to maximize efficiency and reduce greenhouse gasses.
Helped develop vehicle smog testing practices that have contributed to dramatically reducing smog throughout Southern California since the 1970s.
Tests new vehicles based on "real world" consumer needs and reports results to members via Westways magazine. Also reports safety defects to manufacturers/agencies to ensure public safety.
Based on extensive studies by the Automotive Research Center, the federal Environmental Protection Agency changed its regulations regarding posted mileage estimates on vehicles for sale. Those mileage estimates now better reflect the "real world" mileage that average drivers can actually expect.
Publishing an annual "Green Car Guide" evaluating high-mileage gas-powered and alternative fuel vehicles based on fuel economy and consumer-friendly criteria such as roominess, comfort, ease of use, and crashworthiness.
Testing after-market products that claim to improve vehicle mileage. None of the products tested to date have actually lived up to the manufacturer's claims of significantly improving fuel economy.
Publishing information to help motorists conserve fuel consumption and save money including:
- Gas Watcher's Guide: Tips for Conserving Fuel, Saving Money and Protecting the Environment
- Your Driving Costs: How Much Are You Really Paying to Drive?
The Auto Club is conducting a multi-year Electric Car Research Project using a fleet of EVs, including 20 smart All Electric Drive vehicles. The project provides information to consumers about how electric cars may fit into their lives.
The Auto Club provides electric vehicle charging stations at select branches, as well as a mobile electric charging truck in select areas to assist with quick electric-car charging for EVs that run out of charge.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR THOSE IN NEED
SUPPORT CULTURAL / ARTS EDUCATION
“Just wanted to say thank you for the teen driver safety fair. My boys and I had a good time. Keep up the good work.”
a member who attended one of
the Auto Club’s many safety events.
Cultural and Arts Education
The Auto Club archive contains thousands of images, maps, and records documenting the development of Southern California throughout the 20th century. To ensure ongoing preservation, the collection is being converted to digital images, which help document our cultural legacy including:
The Westways cover art collection, along with historic photos and maps, have helped to create dozens of memorable museum exhibits. Westways cover artists include Rex Brandt, Phil Dike, Merv Corning, and Jake Lee.
The Auto Club was the original poster of directional and traffic safety signs for roads throughout Southern California and beyond, along the route that eventually became Route 66. Many of those signs are preserved today in the collection and also in the archives' historic images.
Auto Club maps, a member service dating from 1909, quickly became the most widely used maps of the region. Auto Club cartographers worked on several special projects, including black-out maps and even war strategy maps for World War II, now preserved in the archives.
The Auto Club has provided use licenses for hundreds of non-profit groups to use the archives materials.
Since 2005, the Auto Club has collaborated with the UCLA History-Geography Project to offer a summer institute allowing teachers to develop lesson plans about their local communities with the help of historical maps, articles, and photos from the Auto Club archives. Thousands of students have benefited from the lesson plans created in the institute, some of which are available at: geographicliteracy.gseis.ucla.edu/about.html